The contingent workforce makes up approximately 18 percent of the workforce as a whole, according to research by the American Staffing Industry. This is an increase from 2012, when 16 percent of the workforce was temporary, and a marked change from 2009, when that proportion was 12 percent.

Many factors contribute to this growth. As businesses recover from the recession, many find themselves in need of new staff. It is often more economical to hire temporary workers and ensures that should the economy slow they will not be obligated to keep an enlarged workforce. The ACA is contributing to this increase as well, as many companies prefer employee benefits administration to be in the hands of an outside firm as much as possible to deal with new regulations.

Furthermore, there is an increase in contract workers across many professions. Even the medical and legal industries use contingent workers. They are favored for the reasons above, as well as for project-based work that does not require a permanent enlargement of an organization's staff.

If this trend continues as it has in the past, temporary and contract workers will make up ever more of the workforce. Companies should seriously consider whether contingent workers are right for their needs, as so many others have found them to be.

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